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Why Australia’s fires are linked to floods in Africa

Fires are normal in Australia. This year was off the charts. 

Australia’s recent fire season has been hellish, and there’s no end in sight. At least 17.9 million acres have burned, 28 people have died, and an estimated 1 billion animals have been lost.

But while Australia burns, East Africa has been grappling with record-breaking rainfall leading to catastrophic floods. Both have a common cause — and it lies in the Indian Ocean.

Watch the video above the learn how a large oceanic temperature gradient, the Indian Ocean Dipole, affects weather in East Africa and Australia. And how climate change could make this season’s disastrous weather the new norm.

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A previous version of this video had the date January 7, 2019 at 0:11. It has been corrected to January 7, 2020. The source at 0:24 has been corrected to read the Government of Western Australia. The current version also corrects an error at 2:10 and 2:29 where our voiceover mixed up East and West.